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Swimming Pool Fencing
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW) defines a swimming pool as an excavation, structure or vessel that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 300 millimetres, and that is principally used or designed to be used for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity (includes spa pools and temporary pools). This covers both privately owned and public pools and spas.
Pool safety is a system of child-resistant barriers that restrict access to the pool area by children.
Two factors are consistently identified with pool drownings and near drownings; access to the pool and adult supervision.
What can you do?
- Never leave climbable objects near a pool fence
- Always provide adult supervision for children when using a swimming pool
- Always keep your fence gates, doors and windows locks secured and in good working condition
- Always keep trees, shrubs and climbing plants clear of the pool fence/barrier
- Always keep your filter skimmer box covered and chemicals stored in a safe place
- Undertake CPR – resuscitation training for emergency situations
- Teach your child to swim from an early age
Registering Your Pool
The Register is managed by the NSW Government, not Council.
All property owners with a swimming pool/s located on their property must register their swimming pool details to the Office of Local Government. Registrations may be completed through the swimming pool register website.
If you do not have access to the internet, you may complete a paper form and submit to Council for processing. Please be advised that paper applications attract a $10 administration fee.
City of Parramatta Council conducts inspections of swimming pool barriers under the following circumstances:
- Complaint received by Council regarding the pool barrier;
- Application made to Council for a Compliance Certificate for the barrier;
- Application made to Council for an Occupation Certificate for the barrier (if Council is the principal certifying authority);
- If Council becomes aware of non-compliances with the pool barrier, for example whilst inspecting the premises on an unrelated matter;
- As part of Councils mandatory inspection program of all pools located on premises where there is tourist or visitor accommodation, or more than two dwellings.
During the inspection, an officer will require access to all areas on the premises which form part of the child resistant barrier. For older pools, this may include parts of a house, garage, or other dwelling. The officer will take measurements of dimensions of the barrier, test strength of gates, doors and other openings, and take photos of the barrier and pool area.
The Act requires that a swimming pool must be at all times surrounded by a child resistant barrier that:
- separates the swimming pool from any residential building situated on the premises and from any place (whether public or private) adjoining the premises, and
- is designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with the standards prescribed by the regulations.
The specific requirements for child resistant barriers are detailed in the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 and Building Code of Australia. The Regulation includes exemptions for existing pool barriers to continue to comply with the older Swimming Pools Regulation 1998 and superseded versions of the Australian Standard 1926, so long as the barrier complied at the time the Regulation or standard was amended and continues to comply. Other exemptions are provided for pools located on small, large, and waterfront properties.
Copies of the Swimming Pools Act and Regulations can be viewed on the NSW Legislation website.
Copies of the Australian Standard 1926 – 2007, Building Code of Australia, and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Guideline are available for review at Parramatta Library, 1-3 Fitzwilliam Street, Parramatta. The CPR Guideline can also be viewed online.
If non compliances are found with the child resistant barrier during an inspection, Council may issue a Direction to comply with the Swimming Pools Act 1992, requiring the owner of the premises to carry out works to the barrier to bring it up to compliance. Council will generally provide Notice to the pool owner prior to issuing a Direction, unless there are circumstances under which Council considers that the safety of a person would be at risk if the requirements of the direction were not carried out as soon as possible.
Section 22 Exemption
The owner of a pool may apply to Council for an exemption pursuant to Section 22 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 under certain circumstances. An exemption may be granted if the Council is satisfied that:
- a) it is impracticable or unreasonable (because of the physical nature of the premises, because of the design or construction of the swimming pool or because of special circumstances of a kind recognised by the regulations as justifying the granting of an exemption) for the swimming pool to comply with those requirements, OR
- b) alternative provision, no less effective than those requirements, exists for restricting access to the swimming pool.
For further details on Section 22 exemptions, please refer to the NSW Office of Local Government website.
To apply to City of Parramatta Council for an exemption under section 22 of the Act, please complete the standard application form.
Compliance and Occupation Certificates relating to swimming pools are current for 3 years from date of issue. These certificates may be issued by Council or an Accredited Private Certifier. To apply for a compliance certificate with Parramatta Council, please complete the standard form and return to Council.
Selling or Leasing a property?
From 29 April 2016, properties sold with a swimming pool must now have either a relevant occupation certificate, ‘certificate of compliance’ or a ‘certificate of non-compliance’, issued from the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
- The vendor of a property (with a swimming pool) is able to transfer the requirement to make a pool barrier compliant, to the purchaser. The transfer will be realised through the attachment of a ‘certificate of non-compliance’ to the contract for sale. Sales of properties with compliant pools will continue to require a ‘certificate of compliance’.
- The purchaser of a property (with a swimming pool) has 90 days from the date of ownership transfer to address any issues of non-compliance in relation to the swimming pool barrier or be subject to current penalties.
- Properties with more than two (2) dwellings are exempt from the requirement to provide a compliant pool barrier on sale or lease as they are already regulated by mandatory three (3) year inspection programs.
- Properties with two (2) dwellings or less are required to have a certificate of compliance before entering into a lease.
Last updated on 11 Apr 2016